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Old February 13 2013, 09:44 PM   #1
DarthTom
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Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

The thread about which TV shows did you watch that likely few other did any my answer about Space 1999 got me thinking about a good topic. Which of some of the older sci-fi has aged the best and which not so much?

i don't think TNG in Trek has aged well. The mauve carpets and some of the earlier episodes and the effects look cheesy today. Whereas I think DS9 has aged very well.

Older than that, Space 1999 hasn't aged well and Buck Rogers another 1980's classic Sci-fi hasn't aged well either.

The original BSG - some episodes are OK - and some haven't aged well IMO

Older than that - I think the unaired pilot of Lost in Space generally has aged well but many of the color episodes now look absurd.

Your thoughts about older sci-fi?
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Old February 13 2013, 09:50 PM   #2
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

I don't really understand what you mean by not ageing well.

I think Space: 1999 still looks believably futuristic for example. (Aside from the fact that it's now set in past! - but the design look is fantastic.)
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Old February 13 2013, 10:02 PM   #3
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

One can point to many facets of Space: 1999 that have not aged well. Examples in-universe:
  • The bell-bottoms.
  • The reliance on computer printouts.
  • The black-and-white CRT's.
  • Having to walk over to the composts.
The VFX haven't aged well either, as a general statement. In spots it still looks great, but too often the Moon globe looks exactly like a model, one can tell when the Eagles are turning on wires, due to the way they sway, laser effects are exaggerated, etc.

But I'll second that "not aging well" is ambiguous or could mean a variety of different things.
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Old February 13 2013, 10:14 PM   #4
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

Andrew_Kearley wrote: View Post
I think Space: 1999 still looks believably futuristic for example. (Aside from the fact that it's now set in past! - but the design look is fantastic.)
Unfair comparison but I'll go there anyway, - 2001 A Space Odyssey - effects/ships/uniforms etc. still seem up-to-date even some 40+ years later.

Space 1999 doesn't even come close. Now before you say it - yes one was a major motion picture and the other a TV show but just sayin.
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Old February 13 2013, 10:33 PM   #5
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

DarthTom wrote: View Post
The original BSG - some episodes are OK - and some haven't aged well IMO
The disco references are kinda hilarious and cringe inducing these days.
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Old February 13 2013, 10:42 PM   #6
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

Well, I don't see it. So there you go.

But I don't think creative decisions and production techniques that were the best they could do at the time necessarily show something as having "aged badly". The idea that a tv show could have accurately predicted how the year 1999 would look is just silly. What it doesn't do is look like 1974 - it's a great projection 25 years ahead.

I don't think 2001 is an unfair comparison, as Space: 1999 was probably trying to emulate its look. The effects are definitely comparable. And the acting is way better.

I think the effects in Space are the best I've ever seen in any tv show. They've got a depth and solidity that seems more real to me than all your flashy CGI stuff. Maybe it's just what I want to see. The design and the effects aren't there to be a documentary portrayal of the future - they're there to serve the story, and they do that fantastically.
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Old February 13 2013, 10:42 PM   #7
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

jayceee wrote: View Post
The disco references are kinda hilarious and cringe inducing these days.
Yea. One of the few episodes of the original BSG that I think it still good today is the one where Starbuck and the Cylon get stranded on the planet and must work together.

It's the Enemy Mine version of the original BSG
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Old February 13 2013, 10:54 PM   #8
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

It's over fifty years old and in black-and-white, but the original Twilight Zone is timeless.
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Old February 13 2013, 10:58 PM   #9
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

DarthTom wrote: View Post
One of the few episodes of the original BSG that I think it still good today is the one where Starbuck and the Cylon get stranded on the planet and must work together.

It's the Enemy Mine version of the original BSG
Is this the one from the 10-episode 1980 Galactica season

Last edited by jayceee; February 13 2013 at 11:26 PM.
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Old February 13 2013, 11:14 PM   #10
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

More generally, the stuff which looks hilarious in older sci-fi, is technological stuff which is surpassed in the real world.

Awhile ago I was watching the movie Johnny Mnemonic. It was amusing how Johnny's brain implant could only hold 60 gigs of data.

Though back then in the early-mid 1990's, 60 gigs appeared to be a lot of memory or storage space. One of my computers back then had 8 megs of ram memory and a 500 meg hard drive.
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Old February 14 2013, 12:04 AM   #11
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

There aren't a lot of "old" SF shows to really describe as "aging well", there have been a lot more newer SF shows, but out of the meager pickings, I'll give a list: Ill go 20 years and older..pre-1993 in no particular order:

1. Twilight Zone: It's the stories that make it, they're still good
2. Outer Limits: It IS becoming more dated all the time, but it's best epiodes are still very good.
3. BSG 1979: They actually didn't use too much that was time period specific, and by comparison, the other big budget SF series of the time was Buck Rogers, which is incredibly dated.
4. STNG: Again, they set it far enough into the future and didn't use a lot of 80s-90s styles that it appears relatively timeless.
5. TOS: Ok yes lots of things ARE dated about it, no question, on the other hand the stories make it a classic, and therefore survive the test of time.

Some of the most dated:

1. Buck Rogers
2. Starlost
3. Lost in Space
4. UFO
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Old February 14 2013, 01:32 AM   #12
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

The CRT's and computer keyboards on original BSG haven't aged well. Neither have the feathered hairstyles.
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Old February 14 2013, 01:48 AM   #13
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

Andrew_Kearley wrote: View Post
Well, I don't see it. So there you go.

But I don't think creative decisions and production techniques that were the best they could do at the time necessarily show something as having "aged badly". The idea that a tv show could have accurately predicted how the year 1999 would look is just silly. What it doesn't do is look like 1974 - it's a great projection 25 years ahead.

I don't think 2001 is an unfair comparison, as Space: 1999 was probably trying to emulate its look. The effects are definitely comparable. And the acting is way better.

I think the effects in Space are the best I've ever seen in any tv show. They've got a depth and solidity that seems more real to me than all your flashy CGI stuff. Maybe it's just what I want to see. The design and the effects aren't there to be a documentary portrayal of the future - they're there to serve the story, and they do that fantastically.

I'm sorry, but Space 1999 looks INCREDIBLY dated. There is nothing about that show that does not scream 70s.

I think that made 2001 appear more timeless is that its done with a more 60s aesthetic that was a bit more conservative than what was done in the 70s. The more conservative the future the more likely that it will come closer to the real asthetics of the actual future.

The more "futuristic" you make things look, the more dated it will look in the future.
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Old February 14 2013, 02:23 AM   #14
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

I think Buck Rogers is an absolute riot of disco sci-fi. I've watched some recently and it seems obvious to me they were very self-aware of it as well. Unfortunately, modern viewers can't tolerate even a whiff of cheese in their entertainment.

I like shows with dated visuals, it's like you get a double dose, you get the future but you get it as imagined from a (now) retro time. I think beehive hairdos, sideburns and mini-skirts make TOS better not worse with time.
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Old February 14 2013, 04:45 AM   #15
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Re: Which Sci-Fi shows have aged the best?

Gotham Central wrote: View Post
I'm sorry, but Space 1999 looks INCREDIBLY dated.
I don't know why you're apologizing. Fairly obviously I disagree with you, but there's little point us simply contradicting each other. I've said what I need to. Space: 1999 is about eternal and ageless themes, the rest is just the trappings.

I have a great problem with the notion of criticizing something for being "dated", since it's always been fairly obvious to me that an works of art will reflect the times in which they were made. Sci fi is particularly bad for this, as it's nearly always out of date from the moment it's been produced. What's important is the story it's trying to tell, and how it speaks to the audience. Should I worry that they didn't predict smartphones or the computer mouse or whatever? I don't think so. What I would call shows that haven't aged well are ones, for instance, displaying the unenlightened social or political attitudes of previous eras.
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